• I’m fascinated by how neurons communicate with each other and my long-term career goal is to understand how synapses in sensory systems, particularly visual system, achieve and maintain fast and reliable signal transmission which enables a seamless and accurate perception of our environment.
    I received my PhD training under the supervision of Dr. Gregory Hockerman at Purdue University on the biophysics and molecular pharmacology of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and Ca2+ signaling in pancreatic β cells.
    I joined Dr. Kirill Martemyanov’s lab at Scripps Florida in 2015 to study the molecular mechanisms that govern the selective wiring of two types of photoreceptors: rods and cones, which are the primary light sensors in the retina. The selective synaptic connections of photoreceptors with their corresponding downstream ON-bipolar neurons is essential for vision and dysfunction of photoreceptor synapses causes retinal diseases including night blindness.
    My independent research funded by National Eye Institute (NEI K99/R00) was designed to test the hypothesis that trans-synaptic adhesions and signaling perform multifarious roles in the formation, specification and plasticity of retinal synapses. This research will serve as a gateway to understand how synaptic adhesion and signaling encode and process different aspects of visual information and how retinal synaptic malfunction leads to visual deficits.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2022 Frmpd1 Facilitates Trafficking of G-Protein Transducin and Modulates Synaptic Function in Rod Photoreceptors of Mammalian RetinaeNeuro.  9. 2022
    2021 Adhesion GPCR Latrophilin 3 regulates synaptic function of cone photoreceptors in a transsynaptic manner 2021
    2020 Interplay between cell-adhesion molecules governs synaptic wiring of cone photoreceptors 2020
    2020 Clarin-1 expression in adult mouse and human retina highlights a role of Müller glia in Usher syndrome 2020
    2019 GPR158 in the visual system: Homeostatic role in regulation of intraocular pressureJournal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  35:203-215. 2019
    2018 Transsynaptic Binding of Orphan Receptor GPR179 to Dystroglycan-Pikachurin Complex Is Essential for the Synaptic Organization of PhotoreceptorsCell Reports.  25:130-145.e5. 2018
    2018 Molecular determinants of the differential modulation of Ca v 1.2 and Ca v 1.3 by nifedipine and FPL 64176Molecular Pharmacology.  94:973-983. 2018
    2018 LRIT1 Modulates Adaptive Changes in Synaptic Communication of Cone PhotoreceptorsCell Reports.  22:3562-3573. 2018
    2017 The Auxiliary Calcium Channel Subunit α2δ4 Is Required for Axonal Elaboration, Synaptic Transmission, and Wiring of Rod PhotoreceptorsNeuron.  93:1359-1374.e6. 2017
    2014 Uncoupling of Cav1.2 From Ca2+-Induced Ca2+ Release and SK Channel Regulation in Pancreatic β-Cells 2014
    2013 Potentiation of sulfonylurea action by an EPAC-selective cAMP analog in INS-1 Cells: Comparison of tolbutamide and gliclazide and a potential role for EPAC activation of a 2-APB-sensitive Ca2+ influxMolecular Pharmacology.  83:191-205. 2013
    2009 Enantioselective synthesis of ethyl (S)-2-hydroxy-4-phenylbutyrate by recombinant diketoreductase 2009

    Research Overview

  • I'm interested in synapse, a specialized structure connecting cells in the nervous system. My lab uses the mammalian retina as a model to study the molecular mechanism through which visual information is properly propagated and accurately processed. Particularly, our research focuses on how synaptic connectivity and function of retinal neurons are established, modulated and diversified through the concerted interplay among different types of synaptic molecules and how disruption of their signaling and interactome leads to retinal circuit malfunction and visual deficit. We use transgenic mouse models combined with CRISPR/Cas based in vivo gene editing to achieve targeted gene perturbation. We use both in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology to record population and single cell activity and use both electron and light microscopy to assess structural changes at cellular and subcellular level. We also apply unbiased proteomic and transcriptomic strategies combined with cell/molecular biology and biochemistry to identify signaling pathways and interactomes.
  • Teaching Overview

  • I believe that a teacher is primarily a stimulator and motivator and that an effective teacher knows how to stimulate and direct the learner’s self-activities. I have been teaching and mentoring undergraduates, graduates and professional students during my graduate school, postdoc training and as a faculty member at UAB.

    Teaching at UAB:

    Biology and Pathology of Ocular Disease (VIS611)

    Teaching at Purdue:

    Organic Chemistry (MCMP204)
    Organic Chemistry Lab (MCMP 204L)
    Organic Chemistry Lab (MCMP 205L)
    Pharmacology (MCMP 441)
    Integrated Lab (MCMP 402)
  • Education And Training

  • Scripps Research Institute Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University 2015
  • Full Name

  • Yuchen Wang